Category Archives: Witch Craft Works

Mid-Season Checkpoint on Witch Craft Works

Witch Craft Works

Here is one way to skin this cat. I sort of agree but I would have put it in a different way.

Witch Craft Works is really an “anime” anime. Only Zvezda gives this one a run for its money this season. What I mean by this is that what’s fun about Witch Craft Works, other than the characters and designs, are out of the elements that’s added in by the process of animation: the voice acting, the visuals, and pacing. To use IS as a point of comparison, season 2 is closer to radio drama slideshow than anime. As an aside I think that is where things failed for IS…

So rather than pinning all the blame on either Potato-kuns (Potato-kunes?) I am going to just give credit to where it’s due: JC STAFF.

Because, like I said, the manga and the themes in Witch Craft Works are hardly anything one should aspire to. It’s not terrible but I think I can throw a stone into a late-night TV screening in Japan and hit something just as good or better. Which is to say…it’s kind of terrible. Admittedly I’m still a couple episodes behind, but there’s nothing in this show that has shown me any redeeming value besides what the anime brought to the table.

Which is to say, if you give Kugyuu, Mamiko, Kawasumi Ayako and Kayanon (and a strong supporting cast, although I’m kind of flipping the roles here) their own witch anime by JC Staff and put some actual animators and an experienced director behind the helm, it’s probably going to be A-OK.

PS. I hope Seto Asami keeps doing deadpan roles after this one, because I like to hope against great odds?

PPS. WCW is probably “better than A-OK” because, well.

PPPS. Is the top image a GSC spoof w.


Inadvertent Genderswap Regarding Witch Craft Works, Silver Spoon

[Note: This was written on Feb. 12, so uh, while I don’t think anything changed significantly but it’s worth noting.]

Some people told me that there’s a gender swap component with how Witch Craft Works is playing out. I don’t disagree, but at the same time it’s not clear cut. To me, it feels more like you got all these tropes or elements, that given a certain pattern, it would start to look like a gender swap. It may or may not be a mindful change, or it may only be superficial.

The problem I see with Witch Craft Work’s treatment from a gender role perspective is that there’s nothing special about whichever way things go. It depends on how you feel what aspect of the plot is validated thematically. For example, Honoka’s eager feelings to want to help Ayaka is always rewarded as he translate those feelings into actions and decisions. However his actions and decisions are not really rewarded? Much like how Ayaka’s calculating ways are often rewarded because she’s good at doing those things, but it always falls short in the grand scheme of things and Honoka makes up the difference.

In the very same breath, I can say that Honoka’s male-bravado-like behavior are appropriately punished because they are usually not thoughtout, precisely because these acts presupposes and ignores Ayaka’s feelings, how she sets things up the way they are, etc.

It’s a little worrysome in my opinion, because I think ultimately Witch Craft Works is a positive story in regards to Honoka and Ayaka. Honoka will grow and develop into respectability, and it’ll be couched in the typical anime-harem context regarding their mutual feelings. But you know, none of this really matters in the big picture. Something like RailDex is a much worse offender of these things. But let’s face it, neither stories are concerned about these gender issues, which is why they have them set up this way, which is why those are not the reasons why we are enjoying them.

But here I am, writing a blog post. I thought the whole genderswap thing was notable in Witch Craft Works only when I also thought about Silver Spoon. In the very same way, Hachiken behaves very much unlike the more stereotypical/idealized farmer boy, which is why Hachiken and Mikage form a triangle with Komaba. I mean, I think Komaba is that quiet, hard-working farmer to a tee. Hachiken on the other hand exhibits a lot of stereotypically urban/feminine traits, like the cooking thing, or crying a easily/lot, or gets overly attached to cute animals. It also doesn’t help that he is bookish, a fuss to deal with, often uncertain and generally very emotional. But I wouldn’t say gender roles play a huge part to the story in this sense, similar to why I wouldn’t call Witch Craft Works a gender swap. It’s interesting to see Mikage being the more cool-headed one, the single child trying to shoulder a family business. It’s such a typical inaka plot thing that the fact Mikage is a girl is kind of not even worth mentioning.

I could also look at it from a power point of view. It’s hard to say because in typical anime/Eastern fashion of glorifying women, it’s still about gender roles. Women are the most powerful/best what is grooved into their roles, and likewise for men. A lot of recent (past 10 yrs) anime have already gave girls more aggressive and active positions in society and boys into more housewife-type situations. So I guess it just doesn’t seem like WCW is doing anything new, nor is it really particularly going anywhere with the gender reversal.

So does it just come down to the princess carry?

cute couple

Man, I could spend better time writing about ImoCho.


Truth in Reporting: Winter 2014 Report Card Meta Edition

I am watching them anime. Other than Buddy Complex being the most notable omission, I think I’m ready to roll.

I just want to take a minute to point out Miao’s thin slicing this season. It’s your formulaic ANN-style review trolling which is to say, it’s based on narrative truths that reasonable people find agreeable rearranged without sense (or all the sense, on the other hand). I want to just highlight it for that–this is a relatively “weak” season in a long time. I think part of it has to do with a general shift in late night TV anime. Just compare it with 2010 (or even 2011). But ranking it seems like a futile exercise at best, so there’s no symbolic gesture of not putting Nisekoi in the first spot.

FWIW, he called Wake Up Girls Movie an OAV.

New shows (and long-absent sequels):

World Conquest Zvezda Plot – I’m on the hook for this show. The magical reality unnerves me. It’s uncomfortable. It’s too good to drop. Its vintage too accomplish to expect a “turn off the brain and have fun” show. Except when I try to run this by the grey matter, it is giving me all kinds of warning signs.

Wake Up, Girls – My favorite of the season. I’m not sure if I like them as an idol group however, even if by all means the anime has done its job. I also like how they sneaked in that Tohoku disaster reminder in there. Also blogging over at Jtor.

Seitokai Yakuindomo 2 – I marathoned the OVAs or whatever they’re called just before episode 1. So I went in with a lot of feels and fresh memory. I wonder if this is why nobody licensed it, by the way–the book publisher must own the rights of episodes 13-18. Is this the new licensing hell (say hello to YZQ)?

Wizard Barristers – So far so good. Miss Piggy is a very nice touch. What kind of a man gets nicknamed Hachi Mitsu? A Honey & Clover dropout?

Witch Craft Works – I am glad to be able to lay my eyes on this show. The manga is a terribly boring thing but the anime is a blast to watch; the comedic timing and direction are great. It is fun also to see by how much can the anime exceed its source material. Manga usually is created by one person or a small team of people; maybe half a dozen even for some weeklies, plus some editorial staff. On the other hand up to ten times more people work on an anime adaptation. Odds are any anime production team have at least enough creative power and experience to do the same, simply because so many more people work on any given project, and the core creative team are made up of some or all fire-tested veterans. So what happens when a lame but popular manga gets animated? Speaking purely from a point of view of “animators are people who draw a lot” I think this is what actually happens.

Nisekoi – Similarly. Although it isn’t comedy but just well-executed character drama, see also Bakemonogatari. You know Shaft.

Sakura Trick – Surprisingly engaging in the yuri fanservice way. Not sure if there’s enough to keep me interested, because unless they escalate it’s all a little boring. And if they do escalate every episode, they would be spending half the episode kissing each other by episode 12. Not that is a problem I think.

ImoCho – Okay, it’s actually kind of fun watching the timid, confused and probably traumatized girl trying to climb out of it. I’m rooting for her. It’s also kind of fun watching an anime trying to depict this communication gap between the two step-siblings. I wonder which kind of boys would take note?

Nobunagun – Surprisingly fun to watch but I think this anime belongs to the 1990s.

Nobunaga the Fool – I would watch this if it was actually faster paced. Right now it’s like Horizon S1 eps 1-4, which is just kind of confusing, dreary, but minus the shock factor of huge balloon boobs and the trope pandering. Jeanne is attractive looking and all but so far she is not really a part of anything because the show hasn’t revealed anything that interesting. It’s gotta hurry it up before it loses all its viewers. Needs its clinching moment.

Space Dandy – It’s hard for me to watch–I canceled my DVR service some time last year so it’s week-late Hulu for me. On the other hand maybe it allows me to try watching it like a normal person, which is…I guess people my age group generally don’t watch Toonami. I mean, I don’t remember the last time I was watching cable TV on a Saturday night other than the Space Dandy premiere. Anyway, it’s okay, I’ll probably ride it out if there’s an easy way to watch it.

Noragami – I would be repping this hard if it was on CR. I guess I will give Funi’s EVS some prop for having actually a good enough lineup, but what can they do to earn back my trust? I guess they did have that great holiday sale. I suppose the worse I could do is pirate it, because it sure is better than not watching it at all, right? Maybe? I guess it’s important to note that I basically don’t buy shows I haven’t seen before (other than, say, Mardock Scramble, because I read the book).

Nourin – I can take it or leave it. It’s one of those shows that I would probably watch it if it’s on CR. I guess maybe next year or next sale, EVS or not.¬†

SoniAni – Kind of like, the show I would drop except if I don’t watch all these shows on EVS, I would have time for this. So I do have time for this. And it’s hardly the most horrible anime. It’s like the most model anime, heh.

Pilot’s Love Song – Same. This show is weird in that while watching it, I’m okay. But after I’m done watching that week’s episode I kind of regret the use of my time. Probably would dropped it a long time ago if not for said EVS issue since this is a CR show.

D-Frag – EVS problem but it’s a pretty okay show. Very “bro” I guess. I think the problem is that it’s a little to convoluted and if you miss the internal logic it’s not that fun to watch.

Chuunikoi Ren – 2chuu2koi as I’d like to call it, but this is a nice change. Much more interesting right off the bat than season 1.

Inari, Konkon, Koi Iroha – I’d pirate this any day.

Mahou Sensou – Dropped because I don’t have the time. Seems okay though.

Hamatora – Dropped because I don’t have the time. Seems okay though. Actually fun to watch in episode 2, if a little predictable.

Houzuki no Reitetsu – Good, solid comedy. Dropped because I got over my Dilbert phase back in the 90s. This stuff is kind of like remaking it for kids going into the workforce in this decade. As an anecdote, when I find some kid at work who falls into all of the usual Dilbert traps, I just sigh and “berate” him directly. Watching Hozuki is like a waste of time.

Saki – Magical girls meets mahjong, the “we don’t have enough episodes so we’ll compress all that we skipped between S1 and Achigahen in 3 episodes but now we can get down to business” edition. Also a Jtor item.

Ongoing:

Nagiasu – AAAAAAHHHHHH

Ace of the Diamond – This is a pretty okay koshien baseball anime. Literally.

Samurai Flamenco – It’s still interesting enough.

Silver Spoon – Yep. One season is hardly a break.

Magi – Yep.

Gundam Build Fighter – This is the Gundam of our generation.

Tokyo Ravens – Okay.jpg

Log Horizon – Finally, story.

Golden Time – Dropped because I don’t really have the time and can’t really be bothered with that Ghost Banri stuff.

Shorts:

Enjoying them all. Even Pupa (whose OP has that “Fantasista Dolls” effect). I think Strange+ and Seki-kun are neck to neck.

Canon

And that’s all for now!

PS. Several blogs I follow waxed poetic on Space Dandy after watching the first few episodes. Basically they all say the same thing, like what I said earlier on. I guess the thing is, it’s just a TV show, like everything we’re watching, you can take it or leave it, and you certainly don’t have to watch everything. Only tortured fans of the medium would, beyond “a thin slicing.” As long as you’re mindful of the usual disclaimers (ie., judging books by covers etc) you are okay. It’s not about “right enough” but knowing what you are in for and getting things working for those purposes. And I think with that in mind, 11:30 PM is way too early for Space Dandy. Proper late night anime is like, 2AM! Imagine watching an anime about putting your arm inside a cow’s anus at 2AM…